Are They Co-Founder Material? 14 Considerations Before You Partner On A Project

What is particularly crucial to consider before deciding whether or not you want to co-found a project with someone?

Co-founders discussing strategy

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. Balance and Compatibility

The biggest thing I believe you should figure out before you jump into a co-founder relationship is, are you both compatible? Is that person the yin to your yang? Compatibility in the business sector isn’t any different than your love life. Personally, I would want to know if they love doing all the things I don’t and I’m not particularly strong in. You need someone to balance you out. – Laura Egocheaga, Viral Growth Media

2. Adaptability

As a new business, you’re going to encounter a lot of surprises. Finding someone who can think fast and adapt to changing situations is essential. Someone who is flexible when things change or when tough decisions need to be made will be invaluable to your new venture. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

3. Complementary Skills

When you’re thinking about starting something with a partner, you need to take their skills into consideration. It’s a good idea to work with someone who has skills that complement your own. You also need to ensure that they are experienced and good at what they do, ensuring that your venture has the best chance at success. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

4. Strengths and Weaknesses

I think that matching your strengths and weaknesses with a potential partner is a great way to determine if they are the right choice. For example, if you’re not a fan of public speaking, you’re going to want to look for a partner who likes getting involved and doing social presentations. Meanwhile, you can focus on your strengths. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Finding the right cofounder

5. Enthusiasm

Whether you’re following a passion project or simply spearheading a new initiative in the office, whoever you bring on board with you should match your level of enthusiasm for it. When you’re working after hours or early mornings on your project, you’re going to want to have reliable partners who are right there next to you because they understand the value that this project will bring. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

6. Investment Level

While it may seem like a great opportunity to partner with someone more successful than you, it can also cause big issues. When you inevitably encounter a bigger setback, a partner who has invested a less significant amount of their money may call it quits easier. This could mean you’ll be fighting through the hardest time in your business alone. – Karl Kangur, Above House

7. Their Mission and Values

The most critical part of deciding whether you want to go into business with someone else is knowing whether you both share the same mission and values. Not having the same vision for your company means that you’ll want to take on different approaches to running and growing the business. This will ultimately create a lot of friction that can hurt your business project. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Their Ability to Think Independently

It’s important to realize that when you are making one decision, it might go wrong. Some decisions can inevitably do wonders and some can result in disasters. You need a person who can think independently and make you realize what you are doing is wrong. Even if you are committed to one decision, you always need a backup plan for everything when it goes haywire. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

9. Trust

There is nothing more important in a business partner than trust. Without trust, it will be extremely challenging to build a successful business, and even if you do, significant problems will arise. When evaluating a potential co-founder, make sure you take the time to assess the extent to which you trust them. – Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group


10. Patience

There comes a time when things are very chaotic and you don’t even know what to do next. These are the times a co-founder must be patient with their surroundings. If you are an anxious person who gets panicked through difficult times, then you make sure your co-founder is patient. You need a patient person around you to calm things down. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

11. Shared Goals

If you are to embark on a project with a partner, it is crucial that you both have the same goal in mind. You cannot have one person striving to accomplish one thing, while the other is not as invested. Assure that you are both in this for the same reason before agreeing to anything. – Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals

12. Self-Awareness

Knowing your capacity to lead, build and distribute is important, but learning your skills and who can complement you is critically important. If you are a builder but don’t know how to distribute, find a partner. If you know GTM but have never built, find a partner. If you are a vision person, find a product and GTM person. – Jack Kudale, Cowbell

13. Flexibility and Commitment

Starting a business is a time-consuming endeavor that requires flexibility and commitment. If your potential co-founder is tied up with other projects or obligations, they might not be able to help you when you need it the most. Find someone who is flexible and able to commit to anything at any time, because things will go wrong and you’ll need someone you can count on. – Shaun Conrad, My Accounting Course

14. Whether You Like Them Personally

Co-founding a project together is going to put you in constant contact and in close proximity to your partner for a long while. Ask yourself how much you like this person. If they get under your skin, pass on the project. You have to have a great relationship to successfully co-found a project together or you will drive each other crazy. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy